Barnsley: Struggling Reds sweat over key pair

Paddy McCourt
Paddy McCourt
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Bottom-of-the-table Barnsley will check on Paddy McCourt and Chris O’Grady ahead of their Boxing Day showdown with Bolton Wanderers.

The duo missed Saturday’s goalless draw at Leeds United through injury and newly appointed Reds boss Danny Wilson will hope they pass fitness tests tomorrow. Skilful winger McCourt is a doubt because of a hamstring problem while big targetman O’Grady has missed Barnsley’s last six fixtures due to a calf strain.

Wilson, who will be without the services of suspended pair Jacob Mellis and Marcus Tudgay, is pondering whether to hand starts to McCourt and O’Grady.

He conceded: “You have to sometimes gamble, but we can’t afford for them to be out for long periods. We need them back as soon as we can, but bringing them back too soon could be detrimental to their injuries.”

Wilson said he learned a “great deal” about his new squad at Elland Road and was delighted with the “fantastic shift” they put in in the Yorkshire derby.

The Oakwell chief will have to make a minimum of two changes to his starting line-up when they lock horns with 18th-placed Bolton as Mellis will serve a one-match ban after collecting his fifth caution of the season at Leeds while Tudgay is ruled out for the remainder of his loan deal after seeing red on Saturday. Wilson admits he faces a tough decision regarding Tudgay’s future.

Wilson is looking to strengthen his side when the transfer window reopens next month but claims he may have to let “one or two” players leave to bring in new blood.

He said: “The feelers have gone out, positives have come back, but you are never certain until January 1. At this stage, we have got ideas who we would like to bring in.”

“There won’t be wholesale changes as that’s just not feasible,” Wilson added. “There might just be one or two tweaks to give us a lift.”